Why music?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by hanzosbm, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Pythagoras told us that the numbers are alive.

    If so, what do they do when they are not counting?

    Do they sing?
     
  2. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Arithmetic (The Rhetoric of Symbols as Numbers) = Numbers and Operators
    Geometry = Numbers and Operators in Space => Space Management
    [Trigonometry = The Bridge between Geometry and Music]
    Music = Numbers and Operators in Time => Time Management
    Astronomy (Physics!) = Numbers and Operators in Space and Time => Physics Management
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
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  3. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    One thing I'd like to point out, which is a common misconception even made in that video, is the idea that the physical world is all created according to mathematics. It is not. Rather, mathematics is simply a language used to describe the physical world. Just as a digital picture is a collection of small dots of a substance that refracts light with similar properties to physical objects in the world around us, that doesn't mean that the world is created based on pictures. I often here that music is mathematical, and respectfully, this is not true. Music, like everything, can be described through mathematics, but it can also be described through pictures, through written descriptions, and sometimes through color. But that doesn't make music pictorial, literary, or chromatic. Music is simply musical, and we can describe it in a great number of ways.
    Now that my little rant is over, I feel that it brings me back to my original question. Yes, music can be described with mathematics, but it does not require mathematics, so it still places it outside of the linear progression of sciences listed.
     
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  4. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    I agree with all that you have written, except for your conclusion. The STUDY of Music was purposeful and in line with a continuum toward Physics. You can do all the music appreciation and playing of instruments you want. Without the foundation, study of numbers and operators in time, you're just a user of sound. The study is not about sound. It is about shaping the mind to recognize, understand and apply numbers in time. That also included development of the anticipatory, estimation and sequencing circuits of the brain. Its study develops these and quite a few other things too!
     
  5. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Whew!!! Heavy stuff.
     
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  6. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    That is certainly how it appears from the human perspective.

    On the other hand if Pythagoras is correct and the numbers are alive, perhaps it is the numbers that create the human mind.

    Similarly, does a human sing, or does Creation sing the human?
     
  7. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Maybe numbers are just the descriptive language of the divine. Perhaps music is too..... except heavy metal of course... that's the devils work lol :p
     
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  8. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    I personally believe that the work of the divine is more along the lines of simply 'what is'. Obviously, we're now moving into beliefs and philosophy pretty deeply, but what the heck...

    Over the Thanksgiving holiday my brothers invited me out deer hunting with them. It had been a long time, but I figured why not. As we get to the farm and split up to find our own respective positions, I found myself (as one typically does while hunting) just observing nature on a cold Kentucky morning as the sun was getting ready to rise. It was obviously a beautiful sight, and while a dumb atheist might deny it, one would be hard pressed to not see the hand of the divine in it. Now, if one was asked to describe it, what language would they use? I could probably write a book just on that morning talking around the cold I felt and the first rays of the day filtering through the grey blanket of rain coming down. I'm sure a meteorologist could tell you about the air pressures causing the temperatures to drop and the rain to fall just after sun up. A geologist could tell you all about why the ravine stretched out in front of me was formed and the hills beyond it. An astronomer could probably speak ad nauseam about the rising of the sun, the lightening of the skies, false dawn, etc. A zoologist could probably tell you why certain animals were making certain noises. From a musical perspective, you could picture it perfectly with Rossini's Morning Song. A painter could apply pigment to canvas to capture the glowing skies and barren trees. There are probably a hundred more disciplines, each speaking their own language, who could try to capture that scene. But, none of them could, because language only describes. The divine creates what is. It is holistic and complex and fleeting. We, as humans, create languages to describe the world and events around us, but that's all it is; a description. Even when art, in any form, attempts to replicate some natural thing, it always fails to do so completely.

    At the end of the day, maybe the lesson we ought to learn from the study of the various arts is not knowledge from having grasped some tiny fragment of the whole, but rather humility in learning just how little knowledge we will ever actually have.
     
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  9. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    *double like*

    And it is intetesting how some famous scientists came to that very conclusion. I feel that way....
     
  10. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Yes, but it was long after they did the work, making every effort to stretch themselves, rather than just sit back and say, "it can never be comprehended". They did comprehend enough to make a significant difference for all involved, before they shared this humility.
     
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  11. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    That's exactly the point. A person can't see the big picture without first learning these things. But, upon doing so, they realize that the truly big picture is unobtainable.
    I'm by no means an expert in any field, but through my studies for my engineering degree I've had to learn differential equations, organic chemistry, advanced physics, and several other disciplines. (although music has continued to elude me) While others understand far more than I ever will, it was enough of an insight for me to grasp the enormity of it as well as to understand just how limited it really is.
     
  12. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    If you studied Engineering, and advanced physics, etc., you have studied numbers in time. You might not have studied music as a "category", but you have studied its fundamentals.
     
  13. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Very profound brother. Something to ponder on indeed.
     
  14. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    I'm not positive on how this fits into this conversation, but I found something today that I'd like to add. I was watching a YouTube video and in it, they compared our lives to a song. They discussed how, just as a piano has a great number of keys, so does life have a great number of variables. As a song progresses, individual notes (or groupings of notes) are played in a specific order to ultimately create a piece of music. They pointed out that if every key on the piano was suddenly slammed down at the same time as loud as possible that there would be no beauty to it. Likewise, the various, individual and unique events in our finite lives come together to make the song of our life.
    I personally really liked that view on things and thought I'd share.
     
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  15. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    As a professional musician trained in composition and about to be a Lodge Organist in January, I assert that music is inherently scientific, and the way in which it works upon the brain and emotions is inherently related to proportion and science, as is, say, architecture. It certainly belongs among the liberal arts we speak of in the lectures and certainly belongs in the Lodge. The fact that historically many lodges had (and still do) have pipe organs bears this out: the way the organ produces tones is totally based on mathematical principles, as is how all other instruments and even the human voice function.
     
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  16. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    I agree with you, but what is it about music that sets it apart and includes it as one of the seven arts? Why not painting, or sculpture? Both use mathematics. The other six can be seen as a progression culminating in an (attempted) understanding of the universe. Music (not acoustics) is man-made.
     
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  17. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    It is a little harder to discern these days when a whole generation has grown up with digitized music rather than analogue.

    Analogue music - even when it is a-musing - penetrates multiple layers of the human, potentially entraining the subsidiary intelligences.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
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  18. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Sculpture is geometry so it is covered by a previous science. Painting is three dimensional images projected onto two dimensions so it too is covered by geometry.

    I get that music can be reduced to geometry by string ratios and astronomy is all about geometry. That's why Masonry counts geometry as the greatest of the list.
     
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  19. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    You are quite correct, and Euclid even recognized that and he occupies a rather important place in Freemasonry. What many people who are not highly studied in music forget is that for much of its history it was a mathematical science. Palestrina and Bach, for instance. The 20th Century was a huge experiment in reducing music to its underlying science, at least as far as academic music is concerned. We must not confuse so-called "popular" music with academic music and the study of music as an academic discipline.
     
  20. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    Not to belabor this, but let's examine the Pipe Organ, an instrument found in many old lodges. What we call 8 foot pitch is generally within the range of the human voice and those pipes vary in length based on 8 feet. 16 foot pitch covers the lower octaves,4 and 2 foot pitch much higher. Then there are what we call "mutation" stops, where overtones are added based on mathematical fomulae. Regardless of how music makes us FEEL, it is based on solid scientific principles.
     
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